Thursday, 26 January 2012

Mind the gap: the difference a generation makes

More and more people are taking steps to try and live a greener life. But there are some people who are resisting the shift to a green consciousness, not out of stubbornness or unwillingness to change, but due to reasons that sometimes confuse the younger generations.

A generation ago the earth was merely a source of seemingly inexhaustible resources. Thirty years ago there were around five and a half billion people on the planet. Now, there are over seven billion humans all vying for natural resources. So perhaps there was no need back then to consider being eco-friendly, or perhaps we should have seen the potential impacts of our continued over-exploitation and started making plans back then already?

Thirty years ago recycling was almost non-existent by today’s standards. There were very few countries that had dedicated recycling systems in place that collected, separated and processed recyclable waste. This said, a generation ago people were practicing their own form of recycling through the products they used.

Liquid products (like milk, soda and beer) came in bottles. When you had emptied the contents you returned the bottle to the store at which you bought them from, who would, in turn, send them back to the plant to be washed and sterilised and refilled. A generation ago everyone washed the baby's diapers because there wasn’t any other option. People dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling tumble dryer. Back then, people took the bus, and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters.

At the end of the day, we can all point fingers at each other. But this solves nothing, and the earth needs solutions today, to ensure that we are able to survive tomorrow. By playing your part in doing a few small green actions every day, the collective action of our efforts will be immense.

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